Early this morning, the Chicago White Sox defeated the Houston Astros 7-5 in 14 innings, giving them a commanding three games to none lead in this year's fall classic. This was the longest World Series game in major league history - spanning nearly six hours. Pinch hitter Geoff Blum, himself a former Astro, homered in the top of the 14th inning. The White Sox added an insurance later in the inning. Lefty Mark Buerhle, who started game two, came in to close in the bottom of the 14th inning.
This year's White Sox are an interesting group, led by their fearless manager, 41 year-old Ozzie Guillen - a shoo-in for AL Manager of the Year. Guillen, a former rookie of the year & all-star, gold glove winning shortstop, keeps his players ready because of his character, energy & spirit. Former players are often most respected by their managers. He made it clear from day one of the spring season to the team's owners: "get me some new horses in here."
What Guillen was referring to was the White Sox woeful staring pitching. Everyone agrees pitching & defense wins championships in baseball. This year, for example, the White Sox staff was at the top of the ERA list. They have six legitimate starters, four of whom won 14 or more games, which rivals the St. Louis Cardinals' often heralded pitching staff.
Jon Garland, Mark Buerhle, Jose Contreras & Freddie Garcia have dominated this year's post season. In fact, coming into the World Series, they were a combined 4-1, w/ an ERA below 2 runs per game. They shut down the Los Angeles Angels, in particlar last year's AL MYP Vladimir Guerrero, who had just one single in over 20 at bats in the AL division series.
Though I remain a Cubs fan at heart, I feel a certain kinship to the Chicago White Sox because I was born in the Windy City. The fierce rivalry between both teams is parallel to other major league franchises boasting two teams in the same sport, such as we have here in New York. In 2000, for example, when NYC hosted what came to be known as the 'Subway Series', emotions ran high from borough to borough.
In last night's game, all of the Astros' hopes were on the shoulder of their Cy Young candidate Roy Oswalt, who sported a 3-0 record in the post season. He owned the first four innings, mixing his 97 mile an hour fastball w/ a wicked curve & slider. However, in the fifth inning, the White Sox began to melt Oswalt's heat, as he surrendered five runs on six hits, beginning w/ third baseman Joe Crede's opposite field solo homer.
What I like about the White Sox is they have no superstars, which is refreshing in today's climate of over-priced egos whose individual statistics don't lead to playoff berths or World Series rings. Each player in their lineupis capable of winning the game. What other teams have a man batting in the ninth spot who has 15 HR's and 71 RBI's? Shortstop Jose Uribe - whose agressive bat reminds me of former Pittsburgh Pirate catcher Manny Sanguillen - is an overlooked talent who can only get better w/ experience.
The Astros had numerous opportunities to win the game, especially in the ninth inning, when they had a runner on third base w/ one out. ESPN announcer Harold Reynolds - a man after my own heart - said the ninth inning was the key to the Astros demise. Eventually, the bases were loaded, the results of walks (one intentionally to the dangerous Lance Berkman) from White Sox relievers.
Guillen masterfully used his brilliant bullpen in this game. Orlando Hernandez, a former Yankee star & one of the most versatile pitchers in the league, came in & shut down the next two Astros hitters. He was stellar in one of the White Sox' division series wins over last year's champion Boston Red Sox. 'El Duke' pitched three shutout innings of relief in a game (I forget which one) the Red Sox could've blown open w/ one more hit.
Prior to Hernandez' appearance in the ninth inning, lefty Mark Potts came in to face left-handed hitting Mark Lamb. Potts, whose regular season ERA was 1.87, walked Lamb on five pitches. In game one, the exact matchup was used, but in that game, Potts struck out Lamb to diffuse a potental rally. Also, in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Astros tied the game at five, as Whit Sox reliever Hermanson gave up a double to Jason Lane.
Game four will be played tonight in Houston. Their was some mild controversy yesterday because the Astros have the benefit of openinf or closing their domed stadium as weather dictates. NBC announcers Jack Buck & Tim McCarver pointed out the Astros - who had the best record at home in the majors this year - have a much better record when the dome is closed, than when the dome is open. Seems the powers that be wanted the dome open because the temperature was in the 60's. When asked about the decision to keep the dome open, White Sox manager Guillen simply said, "I don't care."
Last night, I got an e-mail from my youngest sister Tracy, who has caught the White Sox fever along w/ her beautiful young daughter, DaShae. She admits she was not a White Sox fan, but now, she says, she is "hooked." Tracy works for the company who makes the ads & message boards for most Chicago sports teams. As such, she gets free tickets to the games, even the World Series. I guess Glenda, the Good Witch was right, as she handed Dorothy her red slippers reminding her: "there's no place like home."
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.